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Homicide-Followed-by-Suicide Incidents Involving Child Victims

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Objectives: To describe homicide-followed-by-suicide incidents involving child victims Methods: Using 2003-2009 National Violent Death Reporting System data, we characterized 129 incidents based on victim and perpetrator demographic information, their relationships, the weapons/mechanisms involved, and the perpetrators' health and stress-related circumstances. Results: These incidents accounted for 188 child deaths; 69% were under 11 years old, and 58% were killed with a firearm. Approximately 76% of perpetrators were males, and 75% were parents/caregivers. Eighty-one percent of incidents with paternal perpetrators and 59% with maternal perpetrators were preceded by parental discord. Fifty-two percent of incidents with maternal perpetrators were associated with maternal psychiatric problems. Conclusions: Strategies that resolve parental conflicts rationally and facilitate detection and treatment of parental mental conditions might help prevention efforts.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Atlanta, GA, USA 2: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2013

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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